Fear not, partygoers! While quarantine has sadly made it impossible to go out to the club or attend even the smallest of parties, human ingenuity has found a way to create an entertaining, if not quite as satisfying, alternative. People everywhere are turning to virtual parties to sate their party bugs, and some of these parties have grown incredibly popular.
Since mid March, DJ and producer D-Nice has been hosting regular virtual dance parties on Instagram Live, where he plays sets for thousands of viewers. The sets, dubbed both “Club Quarantine” and “Homeschool,” can be attended by following D-Nice on Instagram (@dnice), and they are quite popular; the account ballooned from under 200,000 followers at the start of quarantine to over 2.2 million in a little over a month.
These Club Quarantine events draw upwards of 100,000 viewers at a time, and have attracted multiple celebrity attendees, including Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Michelle Obama, Janet Jackson, and even presidential candidate Joe Biden.
While D-Nice’s Club Quarantine parties are likely the most popular, many other forms of virtual parties and events have sprung up, including an underground queer virtual nightclub also dubbed Club Quarantine, which hosts nightly parties on Zoom.
The Zoom code for each night’s party is posted on the club’s instagram (@clubquarantine) at each party’s beginning. Parties are attended by viewers from all over the world and have also drawn in celebrities, including musician Charlie XCX, who played a live set for over 1,000 viewers.
Multiple other live streams and virtual parties are being organized and attended by viewers who feel the need to socialize, or wish to watch sets by artists or speakers they like. Social media is an excellent way to find out about upcoming events, as is word-of-mouth.
Websites such as eventbrite have a section devoted to listing upcoming online events. You can also check the social media or websites of specific artists and speakers you like, or the websites of your favorite clubs, to see if any are turning to virtual events.
Want to organize a virtual party yourself? Go to Zoom, set up an invitation list and go to town! Like any normal party, you can feature music, activities and more.
Regardless of the party or event specifics, these virtual gatherings may permanently change the way we socialize. “If there was one aspect of quarantine life that I would want to continue after,” said one California-based college student who attends nightly virtual events, “it would be the zoom parties, and having opportunities to have this community. If anything, it feels like it’s just kind of a perpetual conference with all the best speakers and performers that you could want. And you can just go anywhere, you know?”
In addition to breaking down barriers of distance and content, these virtual parties are also doing wonders for accessibility. Many people, due to injuries, disabilities, mental/physical illnesses, etc., are unable to attend physical parties during everyday, non-COVID-affected life.
With the advent and normalization of virtual parties, these marginalized groups are now able to participate in unprecedented ways.
“(For these groups), telecommunication for a long time was a coveted thing,” said another California-based college student, who is unable to attend loud parties or shows due to a permanent ear injury, “but was deemed impossible by the larger structures of society. But now, COVID has really shown that that stuff is totally possible.”
Phoebe Pinder is a videographer and content creator at Per Scholas, a tech education nonprofit dedicated to advancing economic equity by providing rigorous, cost-free training for tech careers.
Her writing has appeared not only at ClearHealthCosts and Per Scholas, but also at the Environmental Media Association. She was previously employed at CareerMD and Kaiser Permanente.
She is a graduate of Grinnell College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.